Kadhafi regrets divorce of his Sarkozy 'friends'

19th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

19 October 2007, TRIPOLI (AFP) - Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi has voiced regret at the divorce of France's first couple, whose joint involvement in resolving a long-running row between Tripoli and the EU has sparked a French parliamentary inquiry.

19 October 2007

TRIPOLI (AFP) - Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi has voiced regret at the divorce of France's first couple, whose joint involvement in resolving a long-running row between Tripoli and the EU has sparked a French parliamentary inquiry.

"In a personal capacity, I wish to express my deep regret at the separation of my two very close friends (President Nicolas) Sarkozy and Cecilia," Kadhafi told AFP in a statement late Thursday.

Kadhafi regretted that the breakup "came abruptly giving no time for personal intervention by their friends to reconcile them."

Sarkozy's office announced on Thursday that he and his wife had divorced by mutual consent, ending an often tempestuous 11 year marriage.

In one of her few forays into public affairs, the former first lady made two high-profile trips to Tripoli earlier this year to resolve the long-running case of six Bulgarian medics on death row on charges of infecting Libyan children with the AIDS virus.

She told a newspaper last month that she held face-to-face negotiations with Kadhafi to persuade him to free the five nurses and a doctor whom she later accompanied home to Sofia in July.

Sarkozy himself visited Tripoli in late July for only the second visit by a French president.

French members of parliament last week set up a commission of inquiry into whether the Libyan leader had been offered incentives to smooth the deal, including French military aid.

The commission is to hear testimony from top aides to Sarkozy but the president has rejected opposition calls for his wife to come before the commission and explain her role as his special envoy to Tripoli.

"Cecilia did an absolutely remarkable job. But if someone has to be held accountable, then it should be me. I'm the one who is responsible," Sarkozy said last month.

The Socialist opposition in parliament has questioned whether the medics' release and a military cooperation agreement with France announced the following day were linked.

The government has denied any deal with Tripoli, with Cecilia saying in the newspaper interview that she only offered medical assistance to a local hospital treating the AIDS-infected children.

AFP

Subject: French news

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